Lady Falcons’ comeback comes up short, Hartsville holds on
By Drake Horton
It was almost the perfect ending; a comeback for the ages against one of its most bitter rivals on their home court. Unfortunately, most of the time perfect endings are for Hollywood, and this game was played in Hartsville.
Down by as much 16 points including scoring just three points in the second quarter it looked like the Hartsville Lady Red Foxes were about to run the Darlington Lady Falcons right out of Hartsville and right back to Darlington.
That turned out to not quite be the story. Instead, Darlington head coach Frances Fields and her Lady Falcons flipped a switch starting in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Red Foxes 20-9 including a 12-3 run to end the quarter.
Once the fourth quarter started, momentum had already been swung in Darlington’s favor and it looked like what was once looking to be a promising night for the Lady Red Foxes was going to turn into a night of upsets.
“They fought hard,” Fields said after the game. “I thought they did well, honestly, they pushed it when they needed to. It’s like I was saying last game, it’s a point of finishing and that’s what we have to get to next.”
Darlington and Hartsville battled back and forth in the final period; with less than two minutes to go in the game the unthinkable happened- and the Lady Falcons tied the game at 46, the first time since the first quarter.
That tie was short lived though as Hartsville responded, draining a three-pointer from the right wing with 1:27 left in the game. That shot sparked a 9-0 run in less than 30 seconds, ending any chance of a Darlington upset and sealing a 57-49 Hartsville victory on Friday night.
“When Brittany Sutton hit that three-pointer I called a timeout I knew that I had to call a timeout to get my team together,” Hartsville girls head coach Tammy Gibson said, speaking of that final run in the fourth. “I knew I had to get my girls focused because I wanted more defensive pressure.”
Once again, as it was versus Manning in the previous game, Darlington fell behind only to show major grit and heart by coming back and putting itself in position to win the game. And just like the game against Manning, the team was not able to finish the deal.
“They wanted to win, they fought, now we have to learn how to finish,” Fields said on her team. “I believe they are learning how to fight and now they’re learning how to want to win. That was one of the obstacles that we had to overcome over the break and throughout this whole year.”
Instead of snatching up the first region win of the year, the Lady Falcons must now lick their wounds and rebound, knowing that in three region games this season they could be 3-0 instead of 0-3.
It might look discouraging now, but the Lady Falcons are improving in each and every game under Fields and a potential playoff berth is not out of the question based on the effort seen in the last few games.
Deja Turner was Darlington’s leading scorer with 14 points, while both Hope Richardson and LaDaysha Bonaparte finished with 10 points. Richardson had 12 rebounds to go along with her points while Bonaparte had seven to go along with her points.
Darlington is 3-8 overall, 0-3 in the region.˚